Comment Period Closes Oct. 7, 2022 for U.S. EPA’s Herbicide Atrazine Mitigation Docket
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) regulates and registers pesticide use in the United States. These regulations and restrictions are designed after three-tiered risks assessments to determine the hazard of the pesticide to human health, the environment and pollinators.
Through a 2016 risk assessment, it was determined that Atrazine has a 50% chance of negatively impacting aquatic environments when present above levels of 3.4 µg/L. The determination of this risk has led to a revision proposal for restrictions on atrazine use with certain circumstances including a potential forecast of rain, groundwater contamination models, and the use of a picklist to reduce potential for contamination.
When the EPA proposes revisions, they allow for a public commentary on the recommended changes. This allows for anyone to provide their feedback on the changes to inform the EPA of knowledge gaps, considerations or concerns that the public would like addressed.
Major revisions include:
- Atrazine application prohibited when soils are saturated.
- Atrazine application prohibited when rain is forecasted during application or for 48 hours after application.
- Aerial application prohibited.
- Application rate reduced to 2.0 lbs of atrazine on sorghum, field corn and sweet corn in a year.
- Inclusion of a picklist to mitigate runoff and leaching based on factors of the field (soil, crop, slope, weather, etc.) and predicted atrazine contamination in watershed field is located in.
- Record-keeping requirements.
The docket of these proposed revisions is available on Regulations.gov.
The EPA provides comment periods on many of the recommended revisions they make and this allows for communities to have a say in the changes that the EPA makes. Making comments on EPA proposals can increase communication between the public and regulatory officials. It is important for regulatory agencies to make informed decisions and consider impacts and concerns that the public identifies. Nebraska Extension has put together a list of suggestions on how to write an effective comment for EPA dockets as they are released.
- Define your objectives for the comment at the beginning.
- Use specific situations to strengthen your points.
- Include positive and negative feedback.
- Use precise and respectful language to state your concerns, identified gaps of knowledge, or additional considerations.
- Avoid grammatical errors and spelling errors.
- Include scientific data when applicable.
- Avoid opinions or undocumented observations.
- Use an active voice, not passive.
- Include solutions or specific changes to the language of the docket.
- Read the docket fully before writing a comment.
- Avoid wordy sentences or dense text blocks.
For information from the National Corn Growers Association and their call to action for Atrazine, see this article.
NCGA has a prewritten template that can be viewed on its website, and for those who wish to submit a comment through the group, see the NCGA Take Action page.